Questions to Ask a Paving Contractor
So you want to get some asphalt work done. Like most clients you should have a set number of questions to ask before you do so. In order to make the right choice, we’ve compiled a list of questions you should ask your paving contractor before starting any work. These questions include right and wrong answers. The wrong answers should be considered red flags that help you determine who not to hire. Right answers to the questions will help you make the best choice possible in getting the right company to do your asphalt paving. There are a whole host of questions you can ask, so we have narrowed them down to the most important things you should be asking.
What do their reviews look like?
Not only should you look at their reviews, but pay attention to their most recent reviews. Changes in management can make a good company go bad, so look for recent, positive reviews. Find reviews on websites like Google, the company’s own website, and other review sites. Angie’s List, Glassdoor, and Yelp are great places to start looking for company reviews.
Red Flags for reviews include a track record of bad reviews. If the company has overall bad reviews from clients, it’s probably not a company that does the best job possible. Other things to look for include reviews trending downward over time. If older reviews are good and newer ones are bad, then you know that their current work is not up to snuff.
Green flags include over all positive reviews, of course. If the reviews from several years ago were OK, and they get more positive over time, then you know that this is a company that is trending on better work and improvement. Ideally look for reviews that mention good quality of work, legal compliance, and good feedback/communication. You can also look at reviews left by previous employees, as they will give you an idea of what company culture is like. Good employee reviews are always a positive.
Planning for Time and Materials
Make sure you get a direct idea of how much material and time the company will need to complete a project. This is important for getting the project done within budget and in a timely manner.
Red flags here are very important. A company that asks for unlimited time and materials is bad. Why? Because that means that they don’t have a clear plan for completion of the project. Without a good plan, it’s easy for the project to go way over budget. Some shady companies actually want this, as it is how they make more money.
Good things to look for are a concise budget and timeline. If the company can provide you with an accurate statement regarding how much time and materials they require, it means the have the right planning method and experience to get your job done.
Ask any company you work with for references. The references that are ideal are recent, and can be contacted easily.
Outdated references. If a company gives you a previous client list, and the phone numbers don’t work, or the email addresses are no longer functioning, you can’t do your due diligence. You need to be able to contact current/recent references to find the best company for the job.
What you should hope for in answer to questions about references are recent or current contacts. You will want references that are easy to get a hold of to ask questions to. Don’t just look for positive references, look for up-to-date contacts.
How Much Money is Required Up-Front?
Every contractor will require some money up-front in order to start work. This is to secure a place in the calendar and start materials production. Beware of companies that ask for too much before work even begins.
Any company asking for more than 15% up-front is a red flag. Asking for too much up front means that the company lacks the expertise/experience in budgeting for its projects.
A company that asks for a reasonable amount up-front. 10% Or less is usually a good sign that the company knows what it is doing and can budget its work properly.
Permits are expensive and necessary. Any company that forgoes permits due to costs or red tape is not doing its job properly. Jobs being done without permits can be shut down by building officials or the government.
No permits. If the company is trying to do work without permits, then don’t hire them. Without permits, you don’t know that the job is done safely and properly.
A building company should of course be permitted. When talking to the company before hiring them, ask if they have the permits for the job. If they already have the permits, and know what permits are required for your job, it’s very good. Knowing which permits are required is good for two reasons: 1) the company has experience with this kind of work. 2) The company is up to date on its legal paperwork, so everything is above-board.
When you are asking questions to a company about its work, you should get prompt replies. A company that doesn’t answer the phone or respond to emails in a timely way isn’t professional. You will want a responsive in case something unexpected happens during building. This way you are able to communicated quickly and effectively to solve problems.
No email responses, or responses take more than a week. Another bad sign is if doesn’t answer the phone, or only rarely answers.
Timely responses in emails (usually 24 hours or less) and regularly answering phone calls are ideal.
Looking to Get Some Paving Done?
If you or your company needs asphalt work done, check out Reliable Paving. Our permitted, professional company has over 35 years of experience. Additionally, our crew of over 200 people is able to perform big jobs on-time and on-budget. Get in contact with us about any questions you might have about your job.